Review Roundup: MY FAIR LADY, Directed by Julie Andrews

My Fair Lady officially opened at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, on 6 September, 2016, and is running for a strictly limited season. This new production, which recreates the original 1956 Broadway one, is directed by the actress who created the role of Eliza Doolittle in the original production, the world-renowned actor and director Dame Julie Andrews.

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Jade Kops, Award winning UK actor Alex Jennings is wonderful as Professor Higgins. He presents a subtle performance that allows the comedy of the story to flow naturally, presenting an honest and heart-warming expression of the socially inept academic. Little looks, perfect comic timing and an understated delivery garner genuine laughter and understanding of the "confirmed old bachelor" that has "grown accustomed" to having his "squashed cabbage leaf" student around.

Ben Neutze, Daily Review: And while she has a gorgeous soprano, her focus is much more on characterisation than beautiful singing. O'Byrne is simply radiant, and almost everything in her performance is perfectly judged - she's funny, moving, and resilient. Andrews must be very proud. Similarly, it's difficult to imagine a better Professor Higgins than British actor Alex Jennings, who has previously won an Olivier Award for playing the role on the West End. As the phonetics professor who takes on Eliza as a pupil - coaching and bullying her into a new woman - his transformation is far subtler, but just as well realised.

Chris Hook, The Daily Telegraph: Cecil Beaton's gorgeous costumes have also been lovingly rendered here by his former assistant John David Ridge, and many minutes can be enjoyably spent just soaking up the spectacle at every corner of the stage. It's a glorious sensory experience.

Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald: Anna O'Byrne brings a flinty edge to flower girl Eliza Doolittle early on, a harshness that, in combination with streaks of dirt and filthy skirts, ages her by a decade or more. Eliza's emergence as Higgins' experimental social butterfly is made the more striking when those years melt away. Once transformed, O'Byrne's fine voice carries emotion to the back of the hall, exemplified in a ringing, exuberant I Could Have Danced All Night. She demonstrates fine comic touch, too, when the temporarily uncorked Eliza brings Ascot to a halt with her "move yer bloomin' arse".

Simon Parris, Simon Parris: Man in Chair: Andrews' direction encourages a broad playing style, in which performers face forward and speak at loud volume, albeit with perfect diction. This style takes the show to the audience rather than drawing the audience towards the actors/characters, and yet the talented set of leads still succeeds in winning affection. Storytelling is crystal clear, although it would be nice to give some credit not only to audience intelligence but also to familiarity with the story.

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